Mixed Age Chicks in Brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Sunnyducks, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. Sunnyducks

    Sunnyducks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello, I'd be glad of any advice. I have one large brooder (and some large plastic tubs). In the brooder are 2 chicks aged 4 weeks and 6 weeks which have become inseparable, and are now on a heat pad at night only. I have a staggered hatch in the incubator that were started under a broody for unknown times, but they started hatching even earlier than I expected and are likely to keep going till Monday. I put yesterday's 7 chicks in a plastic tub under a heat lamp, inside the main brooder containing the older ones. I covered it up with wire.. Later I discovered the older ones inside the tub with the babies, having somehow pulled the cover off. I was too nervous to leave them there so I tried a lower tub with a different wire cover, but the older chicks then jumped on top of the wire to sit under the heat lamp, blocking heat from the babies and pooping on them from above! Plan C - the babies are now inside under the lamp in a tub in my laundry. The older ones spent the night happily on their heat pad. I clearly can't keep the babies in the tub after today, as there will shortly be another one. Because of the problem I hadn't thought of (the older chicks still wanting access to the heat lamp) I clearly can't use the tub inside the brooder. Do you think it's a definite no-no to have them all free together in the brooder? My two heat pads (all I can purchase in my town) are fairly small and have no heat controls. They are designed to be about 95 degrees as they are reptile pads but I wondered if I should make a mama heating pad for them and let them all be together in the brooder? Any advice gratefully received, as I need to fix this, and quick! Thank you in advance.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    The fact that the two older ones get along in spite of a two week age difference may portend they will get along with the new chicks. But I wouldn't throw them all together right away.

    Do you have a coop and run? Most people don't even consider brooding in their coop or run. There is plenty of space, and that's key to different aged chicks getting along. It would be so much easier to rig up side-by-side pens so the new chicks can have safety for their precarious first week while they and the two older chicks get acquainted.

    By the end of the second week, your new babies should be well enough along to be able to cope with the older ones, and you can try taking down the barrier between them. All chicks are different, and you won't know until you try if they will get along. And don't assume it might be the older ones doing the bullying if there is any. Occasional new babies can be aggressive, too.

    I would definitely rig up the two heat pads into two caves. It's an ideal way to meet the heat needs of different age groups. If you're interested in how I brood outdoors, read my article linked below this post.
     
  3. Sunnyducks

    Sunnyducks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @azygous Thank you so much for your reply. The hens will all be largely free ranging when they are old enough, sleeping in the main chook house (currently temporarily occupied by my 2 ducks) but I do have a small chook pen designed for just a couple of backyard hens which I think will make it a much easier thing to sort out. They won't be able to see the little ones though - you've given me so much food for thought in your article that I need to digest it properly but I'm thinking the two older ones can even go out there today, just need to pop to the hardware store to get a couple of padlocks. Then the babies can go back into the main pen in the shed. Won't allow them to see each other, unfortunately, but at least I'll not have the worry I have at the moment. It's great advice, thank you very much indeed.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Glad this helped you sort things out! Let us know how the future integration goes!
     

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